Ready for Spring

We got a taste of the nice weather last week and I can’t get it off my mind! Snow has never been my favorite, and with each passing year (and each additional child) I find myself liking it less and less. Dressing three kids for the weather is no small task. 😉

Last weekend, we had temperatures reach above 60 degrees. The sun, fresh air, and kids’ smiles were incredible! We moved into our new home the day before Christmas Eve and have not really had a chance to explore the outside. We took advantage and instead of driving to a playdate, we were able to walk! We are so blessed to have friends that live nearby. Our stroller holds two and Max was such a trooper walking with me; he even helped me push! After a little more practice, I may even let him try biking on our walks!

We also played in our own yard. The kids were excited to use some of their outside toys they hadn’t seen in awhile. The big hit was definitely the little red sports car (power wheels) we were gifted a couple years ago. Max is getting much better at driving, but continue to watch out for Gwenyth. 😉

We know it is not quite spring yet, but this preview was enough to get us thinking (and dreaming!) of the warm days to come!


Bowen “Bo” Timothy Rude

We welcomed our son, Bowen Timothy, on November 5, 2015. He weighed in at 7 pounds 15 ounces, measured 21 inches long, and made his debut at 7:44pm. We are so in love with our newest addition!

DSC_0950Big brother, Max, and big sister, Gwenyth, have been so good with him! They like to poke him, and to be honest, Bo doesn’t mind. 😉

More Pictures of life with Bo:

Bo’s Arrival Story (Skip if you don’t want the details… 😉 )-

On Wednesday the 4th, at about 3 in the morning, I woke up feeling regular contractions. I was excited at this point, knowing that my little guy was on his way! Bo’s birth was to be different from my prior birth experiences because I was hoping and praying for a successful VBA2C (Vaginal Birth after two Cesareans). As soon as I felt it was a reasonable time to contact people, around 7am, I let my mom know that she may need to come get Max and Gwenyth because it could be go time. She arrived and Jason and I headed to the hospital around 11am. My contractions were only about 10 minutes apart, but with this being my first attempt at a VBAC, they wanted me to go ahead and get to the hospital.

Upon arrival, I was barely dilated. The nurse had us walk around for two hours. Contractions continued to be about 10 minutes apart but became more intense. To much (Much, much, much) dismay, the walk did not improve anything. We were sent home and told to come back when the contractions were closer together.

The contractions never got closer together. They stayed 10 minutes apart but did become more intense than I had ever considered. I did not sleep at all that night and in the morning was desperate for some relief. We called in and they told us that we could come back in if we wanted to be checked again. We went in and my thoughts were that I just had to get this pain managed somehow. Well, to my surprise and delight (ha) I was dilated to a 4 and the nurse said they would admit me and break my water! I cried happy tears because I was just sure I was going to get sent home again.

I received my epidural, they broke my water, and I actually was able to take a nap. We had great nurses and after a nurse checked me (at a 5) she hung around and chatted with Jason and I for about 20 minutes. Right after she left the room, I felt intense pressure and told Jason he needed to go grab her, something was happening! Since my last check (about 30 minutes prior) I had gone from a 5 to a 9. It was go time!

There was a lady in the room next door who was also ready to push, so they told me it was a race. Long story short, we lost the race, but it didn’t matter. 😉 With the help of Jason, the nurses, a very sympathetic med student (who didn’t always know quite what to say), and the doctor, Bowen Timothy Rude arrived at 7:44pm and he immediately peed all over those who helped to welcome him into the world. Also, my uterus did not rupture, so yay! 😉

All three of my birth experiences have been incredibly different. (A planned C-section that came a week early, a C-section where I had to be put under, and a VBA2C.) All three have had their good points and bad. But each one has resulted in a healthy, beautiful baby and I am ever so thankful!


We Love You, Fall!

We have really been enjoying the cooler weather and are thankful for all the fun activities that this season brings along! One of the highlights has been a trip to Center Grove Apple Orchard with some friends. We went on a beautiful day and got to enjoy all the orchard has to offer; the corn pool, pedal tractors, the gigantic slide, jumping pillow, amazing donuts, and a tractor ride around the whole orchard! So much fun!

Here are some pictures from our fall so far!


A Summer Recap!

Today is the first day of school for many families we know, and so it seems that summer has kind of come to a close. Another hint is the fantastic cooler weather we have had for the past week or so. We are not ready to put away our swimsuits quite yet, but I thought it might be a good time for a recap of some of our summer highlights!

During the last week of July, our family joined up with the rest of the Rude family in Branson for our annual Rude Family Vacation. It is always such a great time spent with family, both immediate and extended.


Gwenyth, checking out Dolly Parton’s horse at the Dixie Stampede.


Max, enjoying a snack in our “vacation house” as the kids liked to call it.


The cuties riding a mechanical pig. Why not?


Gwenyth loves her cousin, Karis!


We all gathered at Chick Fil A to celebrate James’ birthday! It was so fun!

Another fun thing we got to do just recently was visit the Iowa State Fair with my sister and her two kids. We went on a day when the high temperature did not even reach 70 degrees. This pregnant mom did not mind that one bit!


My sister captured this moment of Max with a cow. Too funny!


Gwenyth is an animal lover to the core. She loved seeing all the animals, I think the baby pigs were her favorite.


My little chicks.


They had fun participating in the little farm set up. They followed a path doing various things that farmers do and at the end they were rewarded with $1 they could then exchange for a real treat!

Here are some more random photos. The kids love reading and their favorite spot to do so is in mommy and daddy’s bed. Always asking for one more story… love of books or trying to delay bedtime? Who really knows? 😉




This last picture is just a first in a new series I would like to call “When Selfies Go Bad.” Anyone else find random pictures taken by their kids on their phones?

We are having another… BOY!

In November, we will be welcoming another bouncing boy into our family! We are so excited! Max is so great, he has begun suggesting names and likes to talk to his brother through my tummy. Gwenyth’s love for babies has not dwindled in the least and we know she will be so happy to finally be able to hold a baby on a daily basis.

Summer always seems to go by so fast and it is hard to believe that we are already past the 4th of July. We have kept very busy with many outdoor activities including a few trips to the splash park, bike riding, farm trips, and visits to many local parks.


My three loves at the fireworks; blurry but the only one I got!


Gwenyth at the splash pad!


Arriving to the splash pad in style.


Making the big leap!


Big boy on a big bike!


Mommy, Gwenyth, (and baby boy!) at the parade!


Zoo train selfie.


Enjoying a frosty on a summer afternoon.


Visiting the animals at Grandma Karen’s.


When it gets too hot, you can find us at the library!


This year, my hands are very full whenever we visit parks. Max is so great at trying new things and enjoys climbing and jumping. Gwenyth enjoys doing whatever big brother does, so this means I am constantly walking around with my hands up in the air ready to give a boost or catch when needed.

Here are the two of them going down some slides.

We are looking forward to the rest of what summer brings and then will welcome the fall wholeheartedly as it means we get to meet our new little guy!

Expecting Baby # 3!

We are so excited to be expecting baby # 3! Baby is due November 14th, very close to older brother’s birthday.

What has been so fun about this pregnancy so far is that Max really understands that another child is going to join our family. He was a little too young to fully comprehend things with Gwenyth. Speaking of, Gwenyth, she is super into babies right now. Everywhere we go, she points them out. It is important to note that when Gwenyth mentions a baby, it is actually anyone remotely smaller than her. This is too funny when she wants to hold a “baby” that is maybe an inch shorter, a pound lighter, and has more hair than her. I will have to remember that I won’t be able to leave our new baby rolling around on a floor blanket unattended with older sister nearby!

Gwenyth has been told there is a baby in mommy’s tummy, but is a little impatient about when she is going to get to see it!


This was the announcement we made the day after Easter!

In other news, we are excited about the warmer weather! We have had some great days at the park and even got our little pool out! We are looking forward to more outdoor adventures this spring and summer!

Sleeping Cuties!

My cute little sleepers!! There is not much in this world that is cuter, more calming, and more irresistible to me than my kids sleeping. They have these amazing cheeks that become even more kissable when their eyes are closed.


Not even a diaper change could wake this little gal up!


Guess who! Think this is Max? Think again, it is Jason!! The apple did not fall far from the tree, my friends!


Max and Gwenyth’s cheeks came from their daddy.


Lights out.


She seems so focused on sleeping.


Couch naps are very common for Max.


Limbs, limbs, everywhere!


Tired out from shopping!


This was at a buffet! Don’t worry, she did wake and eat eventually!


This is her set up at her Great Grandma Kay’s house. What a loved little girl!


Sleeping Hard!



We had a great Christmas! When the holidays come around, Jason and I are often reminded of and thankful for the fact that we are able to live close to both of our families! We don’t have to sacrifice and get to see everyone! Thanks, Lord!

Our first Christmas was with the Rude family. We enjoyed a dinner, crafts for the kids, presents, and of course great memories! We are a pretty large group, so this year, we rented some space at a local park shelter and were all able to be in the same room at the same time! (Thanks for the pictures, Rachael Hall!)

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The Whole Gang ;)

The Whole Gang 😉

Our next celebration took place on Christmas Eve with the Stopek family. We went out to eat at a very traditional Christmas dining establishment (aka On the Border… 😉 ) Then, we went back to my parent’s house to open gifts and hang out. Celebrating on Christmas Eve is a long standing Stopek tradition.

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On Christmas morning, we were able to sleep in (how many more years can we count on that??) Max, after he finally woke up, helped me complete the homemade cinnamon rolls and we enjoyed those as we opened a few more gifts at home.

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We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and is enjoying the new year! We are currently experiencing -8 degree high temps around here, lots of indoor time to make some use out of those gifts!

Our 2014 Christmas Card

Our 2014 Christmas Card

Family Night at the Movies

So for the past couple of months, every time we go to the mall or there is a preview on TV for the movie “Big Hero 6”, Max has been mentioning that he would like to see it. Last night, Jason had the idea to take the whole family as a new pre-holiday tradition.

Max has only been to the theaters once before and it was when he was pretty little. Gwenyth too, has been just once before but was also to small to remember. We had faith that Max would make it through the movie but planned on Gwenyth not making it very far.

This was a surprise to Max and even as we were getting popcorn, I don’t think he was fully aware of the fun he was about to partake in. He was instantly impressed, as was Gwenyth, and they both thoroughly enjoyed the Disney short that preceded the movie; it was about a dog who liked to eat.

Both kids had a small cup of popcorn and as Max sat in his own seat, enthralled with the film, Gwenyth was lounging on my lap, more focused on getting the popcorn into her mouth. Eventually, she did loose interest and we walked the halls for the last third of the movie.

As we were walking about the theater, she made a new friend. She was so pleased to be able to reach and touch the dog on the “Annie” advertisement.

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Overall, the experience was great and we even topped it off with a trip to the Pizza Ranch. Great addition to our holiday lineup. 😉

Max is Three!

Max Robert Rude is three years old today!! I am so thankful and so happy to be his mom. He is such a great guy! Some of my favorite things about Max are:

  • His Kindness: He often shares his favorite toys with his sister, even when he isn’t asked. When she cries, he always wants to know why and tells her that it will be ok.
  • His Sense of Humor: Lately he has really started to comprehend when things are funny or a joke. He will say something and then follow up with, “Just joking, mama.”
  • His Love for His Family: He always wants to be with his family. He will say he wants to go places and then list the people he would like to join us. The way he says his sister’s name is “Gwen-it.” She is often included in this list.
  • His Bravery: He will go into dark basements, help me kill bugs, climb to the top of playgrounds, and likes to meet new friends. I admire him for this!
  • His Desire to Learn: He loves when we work on school work. He gets excited to learn new letters and will point them out throughout the day. He is also doing an AMAZING job MEMORIZING verses for the Awana program at church! He has said every verse so far and when he hears a past verse repeated during church or at Bible study, he will say, “That’s my verse!”
  • His Memory: He remembers everything! He likes to tell stories when we go through photo albums and will always remember where a missing toy is!

There are so many other things that I love about this little guy and even as I am typing different, fun stories are coming to mind. I meant to only include a couple pictures of the last three years, but I couldn’t choose between all of them! Here are some of my favorite moments of being Max’s mom!


Max on his “birth” day. Those long fingers and sweet old man face had me falling in love the moment I meant him.


One of my favorites. All his chunk on display.


This boy still loves a good nap in mom and dad’s bed.


This picture captures his personality so well. “Dump a bucket of cold water on my head. Its all good.”

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Displaying his “Max” face.

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His first purchase at Target!

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State fans.

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and Drake fans.

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